Hand Count Coalition pushes for Pilot Hand Counts

Austin, TX –

According to a communication by Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe issued September 20, 2010, the Travis County Clerk’s goal at this time is “to recommend a hybrid electronic/paper ballot method of voting on Election Day” for Travis County voters.

Members of the Travis County “Hand Count Coalition”, consisting of the Gray Panthers of Austin, LULAC District 12, the Travis County Green Party, VoteRescue and others soon to announce, acknowledge that the Clerk is beginning the process of restoring fully transparent public elections to Travis County by at least offering voters a choice this election of voting on a paper ballot or voting electronically on the Hart eSlate, which has been the only way to vote in the county since 2002.  To find out  more about the Hand Count Coalition, please go to:

“We are at least starting to head in the right direction “, says Karen Renick, Founder and Co-Director of VoteRescue, a non-partisan election integrity group based in Austin that has been working for years to get the county to stop counting the votes in total secrecy using machines and to bring full public access to all election procedures.  “We must remember, however, that the scanners that will count these paper ballots this November are still counting our votes in secret. The key to getting full accountability from our elected officials is to regain 100% transparency through a publicly-observable count that begins immediately after the close of voting with no interruptions or moving of the ballots until the totals are publicly posted at every polling place.”

The Hand Count Coalition members will return to Commissioners Court again this Tuesday, September 21st, to request that a “Pilot Project” for hand-counting paper ballots in select precincts this November accompany the new paper ballot component just announced today.

“We consider this a significant victory,” said Gary Dugger, Co-Convenor of the Gray Panthers of Austin, a Hand Count Coalition member, “but Travis County voters will never have complete confidence in the outcomes of our elections until full transparency is restored to the entire voting process.”

The Coalition will persist in their efforts to further educate the Commissioners and the public on the enormous fraud capability of optical scan counters, as demonstrated in the 2006 Emmy-award nominated HBO documentary, “Hacking Democracy”, in which a real optical scan counter was hacked using the undisclosed software code found on the memory card, the small credit-card sized device that vendors falsely claim only stores the votes from each scanner and is later used to transfer the precinct totals to the central tabulators.”  The link to the hack from this documentary can be found on YouTube at:

Along with other Coalition members, speaking at this Tuesday’s Citizen Communication at the Court will be Allissa Chambers of “A.L.M.A.”:  Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability.  She will be discussing the criminality of our public officials not properly addressing the mismanaged and fraud-ridden housing programs in Austin and how citizens must be able to hold them accountable.


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